Since January, when the rapidly-spreading Coronavirus began to raise international concern, U.S. Senator Tina Smith has worked on a bipartisan basis to ensure Minnesota and the nation are prepared to respond to this health emergency. She has:
Pressed to ensure the public has up-to-date, reliable, science-based information that will keep Americans safe and she has posted such information on her Senate website and on social media posts.
Ensured major bipartisan legislation responding to the pandemic sends the necessary resources to Minnesota hospitals and health providers to meet the surge in need and to keep frontline health workers safe.
Fought for resources that will help Minnesota families, businesses, and workers who have been hit hard by the economic fallout caused by the coronavirus.
Pushed the President and his cabinet members for a more-robust, transparent and less-chaotic response to the pandemic and raised alarms when they were disseminating inaccurate information.
Stayed in touch with top Minnesota officials and business leaders to share information on state-federal efforts to combat virus.
Helped several Minnesotans trapped overseas to get home safely. When Minnesotans were confined on a cruise ships infected by the virus, she pushed federal officials and leaders in other states to allow them to disembark safely and travel home.
Here is a more detailed recount of actions she’s taken:
May 15 – Sen. Smith and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) introduce the COVID-19 Testing Inventory Act, which directs Federal agencies to compile and publicly share real-time information about testing supply inventory and shortages. The measure was alson introduced in the House by Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif. 18).
May 15 – Sen. Smith, along with Sen. Amy Klobuchar and seven Senate colleagues introduce Health Care at Home Act, which would provide telehealth parity for mental and physical health services and close emerging gaps in telehealth services caused by the more than 1,000-fold increase in the use of telehealth during pandemic.
May 15 – Sen. Smith joins Minnesota Congressional delegation in releasing video urging Minnesotans who have tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) and recovered to donate plasma as part of the federally sponsored Expanded Access Program for convalescent plasma, an investigational treatment program for COVID-19.
May 14 – Sen. Smith and Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND) announce the U.S. Treasury Department has made rural electric cooperatives with less than 500 employees are eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The Senators led a bipartisan push to win access fro RECs.
May 13 – Sen. Smith joins Sens. Debbie Stabenow on media call to discuss the toll the coronavirus is taking on Americans’ mental health and efforts to make services, including telehealth and audio visits, available and to ensure providers receive adequate reimbursement.
May 13 – Sen. Smith and prominent Minnesotan and American Chef Andrew Zimmern conduct zoom discussion of the need for mental health funding to ensure Americans can get help during pandemic and into the future.
May 13 – Sen. Smith helps introduce legislation to ensure workers get fair access to legal remedy despite the coronavirus pandemic by extending statute of limitations periods for labor and employment laws.
May 12 – During Health Committee tele-hearing in Washington, D.C., Sen. Smith presses the nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, on Keeping people in Minnesota and across the country safe as state begins to reopen economy. Dr. Fauci says nation told must have tools in place like testing, contact tracing and the ability to quickly respond when coronavirus (COVID-19) infections break out.
May 12 – Sen. Smith and U.S. Rep. David Trone press House-Senate effort to address social isolation among older Americans to keep them connected and healthy at a time they are engaging in coronavirus social distancing.
May 12 – Sen. Smith continues presses Treasury Secretary Mnuchin to work with IRS so families receive the full $500 direct coronavirus relief payment per dependent they qualify for.
May 11 – Sen. Smith leads bipartisan push to to help pork producers in Minnesota and across the country after the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic shut down meat processing plants and restaurants and dried up billions of dollars in demand for their products.
May 11 – Sen. Smith joins group of more than 40 in a letter to President Trump, calling on the Administration to develop a comprehensive national strategic plan of action to ensure states have sufficient tests to begin safely re-opening.
May 11 – Sen. Smith leads bipartisan Senate push to help pork producers in Minnesota and across the country after the pandemic shut down meat processing plants and restaurants and dried up billions of dollars in demand for their products.
May 11 – Sen. Smith and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) lead bipartisan Senate push to help pork producers in Minnesota and across the country hit hard by widespread closure of meat processing plants. With demand dried up, the producers have been forced to euthanize hundreds of thousands of animals.
May 11 – On live national TV interview on MSNBC, Sen. Smith outlines the Administration’s chaotic approach to ensuring enough coronavirus testing and contact tracing, and her intention to ask leading scientist Dr. Anthony Fauci about what is needed to safely reopen Minnesota and the rest of the country.
May 9 – In a Star Tribune story, Sen. Smith describes her efforts to help small businesses in Minnesota and across the country get access to coronavirus relief assistance.
May 8 – Sen. Smith, in a letter to U.S. Treasury Department Secretary Mnuchin and Small Business Administrator Carranza, pushes them to help businesses better understand sometimes confusing rules governing the coronavirus relief payments.
May 8 – Sen. Smith and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) introduce a legislative fix to help state and local governments provide public employees – like police, firefighters, and other employees who can’t work due to coronavirus - with paid leave when they need it most. The measure give them the same protections given to private sector employers to cover the cost of paid leave.
May 8 – Sen. Smith and Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) introduce bipartisan legislation to boost health resources for urban Indian health organizations as the pandemic forces many to grapple with financial hardship and even close operations.
May 7 – Sens. Smith and Klobuchar back legislation to significantly expand national service programs as the country works to respond and recover from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The measure would fund 750,000 national service positions over a three-years, to help meet the need for up to 300,000 public health workers.
May 6 – Sen. Smith announces support for legislation to significantly expand national service programs, as the country works to respond and recover from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The measure would fund 750,000 national service positions over a three-year response and recovery period, in part to meet the projected need for as many as 300,000 public health workers.
May 6 – As farmers continue to deal with coronavirus challenges, Sen. Smith and Sen. Amy Klobuchar announce availability of $100 million in USDA grants to boost availability and sale of renewable fuel. The effort will boost demand for farm products and preserve jobs in rural communities.
May 6 – During interviews with Minnesota radio stations, Sen. Smith discusses her return to Washington, D.C. and her push to get the Senate to continue its work to respond to the pandemic.
May 5 – With the Senate back in session, Sen. Smith joined a Banking Committee hearing remotely to press the person nominated to oversee the coronavirus funding and relief effort to ensure Americans have information about the financial elements that impact businesses and families.
May 5 – After weeks of pushing by Sen. Smith, the U.S. Treasury began dispersing $4.8 billion in coronavirus relief funds to Tribal governments in Minnesota and across the country. The funds are part of the $8 billion total targeted to Tribes in the coronavirus stimulus package.
May 4 – In live interview with Bloomberg @business, Sen. Smith discusses the importance of adequate testing and contact tracing to limiting the spread of the coronavirus and getting the economy in Minnesota and across the country open.
May 1 – Sen. Smith Joins 20 other Senators in bipartisan push to get the Small Business Administration to remove unneeded restrictions it has placed on emergency loans and grants for small businesses hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
May 1 – Sen. Smith urges Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to immediately disburse $8 billion in critical relief funds to eligible federally recognized Tribal governments passed as part of the $2.2 trillion stimulus package in March to help Tribes respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and continue providing essential government services to their communities.
April 30 – Sen. Smith - a member of the Senate Banking Committee— pushes to ensure Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries in Minnesota and nationwide who did not file tax returns know that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is requiring additional information by May 5 for dependents to receive cash assistance made possible through the CARES Act.
April 30 – During live interview on MSNBC, Sen. Smith discusses coronavirus response in Minnesota and her work to expand testing.
April 30 – As the pandemic has shown the urgent need to better understand the links between human, animal and environmental health, Sen. Smith urges Senate leaders to take up her bipartisan legislation to improve the nation’s preparedness to deal with future outbreaks that originate in animals.
April 28 – Sen. Smith and Congresswoman Angie Craig host a public coronavirus tele-town hall to answer questions from Minnesotans about the additional funding made available for small businesses this week, and about changes to the unemployment system enacted during the pandemic. Top state economic and small business officials take part.
April 28 – Sen. Smith and Sen. Elizabeth Warren lead large group of Senate colleagues pushing Senate leaders to include their plan for a $50 billion childcare bailout in the next coronavirus relief package, saying it is indispensable part of the nation’s response to the pandemic.
April 28 – Sen. Smith and Sen. Dick Durbin announce plans to introduce legislation to help state and local governments provide police, firefighters and other public employees paid leave when they need it most.
April 26 – During live interviews on WCCO Radio and KMSP TV, Sen. Smith discussing the impact of new coronavirus relief legislation on Minnesota families, health providers, and small business, as well as her work to significantly ramp up coronavirus testing in the United States.
April 24 - Sen. Smith announces U.S. Treasury Department heeded her bipartisan call with Republican Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) to make rural hospitals and Tribal businesses eligible for coronavirus relief under the the Paycheck Protection Program.
April 23 – Sen. Smith presses the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Small Business Administration to support workers, small businesses and families by opening eligibility for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to additional businesses, including rural electric cooperatives; agricultural cooperatives; Tribal businesses, including tribal gaming businesses; small banks; credit unions; and rural hospitals.
April 22 – Sen. Smith discusses impact of latest coronavirus relief package on Minnesota in interviews with TV and radio stations across the state.
April 21 – Sen. Smith supports bipartisan passage of a $470 billion package to replenish funding for Paycheck Protection Program that provides forgivable loans to small businesses that have been hit hard by the pandemic. The measure – the fouirth relief package responding to the crisis - also includes $100 Billion for hospitals and to jump start the nation’s efforts to do coronavirus testing and contact tracing.
April 20 – Sens. Smith and Klobuchar announced that veterans in Minnesota and across the country who receive benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will automatically receive direct coronavirus relief payments without having to file tax returns.
April 17 – Sen. Smith calls on Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell to ensure Americans and Congress are informed about how coronavirus relief funds are allocated to ensure resources go to small and mid-sized businesses, non-profit organizations, and states and municipalities and to stabilize the housing market.
April 17 – Sens. Smith and Klobuchar call on President provide answers on the Administration’s mismanagement of the Strategic National Stockpile, which has left states without promised federal assistance and supplies they need to combat coronavirus (COVID-19) and save lives.
April 16 – In live interview on WCCO Radio, Sen. Smith discusses her $50 billion plan to stabilize nation’s childcare system, and her push to expand COVID-19 testing as a way of understanding breadth of pandemic and keep Americans safe.
April 15 – Sen. Smith, who secured free COVID-19 testing for all Americans in coronavirus response legislation in March, announces that her provision will also make a second important “antibody” test free of charge to all Americans.
April 15 – Sen. Smith and Sen. Elizabeth Warren Announce plans to push for $50 billion to help shore up the nation’s childcare system during pandemic. Funds will help providers and families deal with childcare needs.
April 15 – Sen. Smith, a member of the Senate Banking Committee, announces that 33,819 Minnesota small businesses have been approved for forgivable loans through the coronavirus Paycheck Protection Program. These loans total $7.6 billion to help the state’s businesses and make Minnesota the third-highest beneficiary of this program, on a per-capita basis.
April 14 – Sen. Smith discusses disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Minnesota’s communities of color during live broadcast on KFAI radio.
April 11 – In Univision Minnesota interview, Sen. Smith discusses impact of coronavirus on state’s Hispanic community, and her efforts to ensure small businesses, and families have resources to get through the pandemic.
April 10 – Sen. Smith discusses impact of coronavirus on Tribal communities with Native American media, and her efforts to ensure resources are available to Minnesota Tribes to respond to the pandemic.
April 10 – Sen. Smith—a member of the Senate Housing and Banking Committee—joined 42 Senate Democrats in calling on federal financial regulators to rescind a proposed rule that would seriously hurt communities of color getting access to credit.
April 9 – In an effort to prevent the coronavirus pandemic from sparking a full-blown housing, eviction, and foreclosure crisis, Sen. Smith backs bill to provide a new $75 billion Housing Assistance Fund to help households struggling to make ends meet.
April 7 – Sen. Smith leads Senate effort to Press Treasury Secretary Mnuchin to take the steps necessary to make certain that people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota and across the country receive coronavirus relief payments.
April 6 – Sen. Smith joins Minnesota Congressional Delegation in urging the Administration to approve Minnesota’s request for a major disaster declaration due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
April 6 – Sen. Smith (D-MN), helps lead bipartisan push on House and Senate leaders to provide funds in future to coronavirus legislation to help small broadband providers sustain internet services and upgrades for students and low-income families.
April 5 – During a live interview on MSNBC, Sen. Smith discusses the Administration’s handling of the nation’s coronavirus response and the need for a “Marshall Plan” using the Defense Production Act as a central part of that response.
April 2 – In interviews with the Star Tribune and Minnesota Public Radio, Sen. Smith discusses how—after days of efforts—Minnesotans aboard the Rotterdam and Zaandam cruise ships will be allowed to disembark and get proper medical attention and safe environments to quarantine.
April 2 – Sen. Smith introduces legislation to ensure dependents 17 years and older are included in what a family gets in direct payments from the coronavirus relief package. She has 14 Senate cosponsors on her bill.
April 2 – After push from Sen. Smith and her colleagues, the Department of Treasury changes course and announces seniors and people with disabilities will get automatic stimulus payments without having to file a tax return.
April 1 – In an interview on KARE11 TV, Sen. Smith discusses gaps in major coronavirus stimulus package, and efforts to get information out to Minnesotans.
April 1 – Sen. Smith calls for passengers aboard the Rotterdam and Zaandam cruise ships—including the Minnesotans aboard—be allowed to disembark and get proper medical attention and safe environments to quarantine.
March 31– Sen. Smith, colleagues urge Administration to provide guidance on providing safe and accessible childcare for frontline health care workers, emergency responders and other essential workers.
March 29 – Sen. Smith talks to U.S. State Department officials on behalf of Minnesotans who have family members on a cruise ship infected with the coronavirus that was being prevented from passing through the Panama Canal. The ship was subsequently allowed to pass through the Canal and head toward the United States.
March 25 – Sen. Smith Supports bipartisan passage of a $2 trillion COVID-19 response package that will speed assistance to health care providers in Minnesota and across the country in order to deal with the coming surge in cases, and help hard-hit Minnesota families, workers and small businesses deal with the fallout.
March 25 – In live interview on WCCO Radio, Sen. Smith discusses negotiations in Senate to address economic and health care fallout from coronavirus.
March 22 – Sen. Smith presses bipartisan legislation to ensure rural hospitals and providers have adequate resources to deal with the surge in patient needs caused by the coronavirus.
March 21 – Sen. Smith led effort urging Senate leadership to include resources for child care providers in bill to address the economic fallout of coronavirus pandemic.
March 20 – As Coronavirus causes steep drop in ethanol prices, Sen. Smith joined by Sen. Klobuchar in pushing President Trump to support strong Renewable Fuel Standard.
March 20 – Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials responds to Sen. Smith’s urgent call to increase capacity of hospitals and health providers to deal with the surge in coronavirus care by outlining protective measures to expand capacity
March 18 – In letter to Secretary of State Pompeo, Sen. Smith presses for immediate State Department action to get trapped Minnesotans and other Americans out of countries that have closed their borders due to the coronavirus.
March 18 – Presses FEMA to ensure that hospitals and other health providers who are now facing an overwhelming increase in emergency coronavirus patients will get quick federal funding and reimbursement to help them expand capacity to meet the need.
March 18 – Sen. Smith helps pass a bipartisan emergency aid package that includes her bill to make coronavirus testing free. The package would also provide paid sick and family leave for many impacted workers, and grant new funding for unemployment assistance.
March 16 – Sen. Smith joins Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips and several top Minnesota health and disease experts on a public tele-town hall to answer questions from Minnesotans about the state of the Coronavirus and precautions that will help prevent its spread.
March 13 – Sen. Smith, colleagues ask what the administration is doing to prepare for the spread of COVID-19 and communicating with childcare providers and early childhood educators about the pandemic. You can read the letter here.
March 12 – Sen. Smith, colleagues press Vice President Pence for more information on the Administration’s efforts to ensure that seniors, people with disabilities, and the home care workers that serve them are adequately equipped for the potential spread of COVID-19. You can read the letter here.
March 12 – Sen. Smith, colleagues ask Vice President Pence for updates on the Administration’s efforts to protect nursing home residents, families, and workers from the spread of COVID-19. Specifically, they asked for information regarding guidance to long-term care facilities as well as residents and families, training and protections for workers, and oversight and inspection activities related to infection control. You can read the letter here.
March 12 – Sen. Smith, colleagues ask Vice President Pence for information on the Administration’s efforts to ensure that seniors, people with disabilities and those who have limited English proficiency receive accurate, timely, and clear information about the novel coronavirus. You can read the letter here.
March 12 – Sen. Smith introduces the Protection for Quarantined Individuals Act, which would prohibit employers from firing, punishing or otherwise discriminating against a worker who is quarantined or isolated—or who is caring for a family member in quarantine or isolation—amid the coronavirus pandemic.
March 12 – Sen. Smith introduces the Free COVID-19 Testing Act, which would ensure that no person—with or without insurance—incurs cost-sharing when receiving a test to confirm a COVID-19 infection. Specifically, this bill waives cost-sharing for COVID-19 diagnostic testing and testing-related services—such as the cost of a visit.
March 12 – Sen. Smith and over 30 of her Senate colleagues send a letter to President Trump calling for an economic stimulus package focused on helping working Americans and their families who will be most harmed by the outbreak and spread of the coronavirus.
March 12 – Sen. Smith helps introduce the Commission on America’s Medical Security Act, bipartisan legislation to safeguard America’s medical supply chain and address shortages due to the United States’ dependence on foreign-made medical supplies.
March 11 – Sen. Smith helps introduce a bill to make sure telehealth is included in the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response’s Strategic Plan. This bill would help increase access to telehealth tools and technologies for both health care providers and patients, including the use of remote monitoring technologies. It would also help increase access to telehealth tools and technologies for both health care providers and patients, including the use of remote monitoring technologies.
March 11 – Sen. Smith, colleagues ask Department of Education Secretary DeVos for information regarding its response to school closures at K-12 schools and at institutions of higher education. The letter asks for answers to a variety of questions, including how the department will coordinate with USDA on children’s access to meals, assistance to families for online learning, access to online learning for students with disabilities, continuity of mental health services, and the impact of illness or absences on federal student aid.
March 9 – Sen. Smith thanks MN health providers, public health officials for work to combat Coronavirus. Posts link to accurate information on MN Dept. of Health web site.
March 8 – In live TV interview on WCCO TV, Sen. Smith discusses national Coronavirus response and preparedness, praises state of Minnesota’s response, and decries misinformation coming from Administration.
March 6 – As first Minnesota Coronavirus case is confirmed, Sen. Smith is in contact with Governor and top MN health officials and posts link to information on MN Dept. of Health web site.
March 6 – Sens. Smith, Klobuchar join bipartisan push on Vice President to meaningfully engage with Native Communities and Tribal leaders on Coronavirus response. They note $40 million was approved for Tribes in emergency Coronavirus funding bill.
March 5 – Sen. Smith helps pass $8.3 billion in emergency funding to combat Coronavirus across the country. Minnesota will receive approximately $10 million for public health response to virus.
March 5 – Sen. Smith calls local public health officials in Minnesota to discuss their work on the Coronavirus, including their planning, preparedness, and response.
March 4 – Sen. Smith presses Census Bureau Director for plan to ensure Coronavirus doesn’t affect accuracy of Census, health of census takers.
March 4 – Sen. Smith, other Senators tell Health Secretary Azar that Administration’s sabotage of health programs and lack of action to lower drug prices is key reason for less effective response to Coronavirus.
March 4 – Sen. Smith discusses Coronavirus preparedness and response with top officials in Minnesota, including Governor Walz, Mayo Clinic CEO Dr. Gianrico Farrugia, and Rochester Mayor Kim Norton.
March 3 – At Senate Health Committee hearing, Sen. Smith presses health experts on negative impact of Administration spreading misinformation on Coronavirus.
March 3 – Sen. Smith, other Senators Press Education Secretary Devos for plan to protect Teachers, students staff in nation’s schools.
February 28 – Sen. Smith posts links to reliable public information on Coronavirus from MN Dept. of Health, federal Centers for Disease Control on her website.
February 28 – Sen. Smith and Sen. Cardin push FDA on plans to address anticipated shortages and disruptions of drugs and medical supplies due to Coronavirus.
February 28 – In Minnesota TV interviews, Sens. Smith, Baldwin discuss need for stepped up action on Coronavirus, decry Trump effort to defund low income home heating assistance to pay for response to Coronavirus. Smith also urged people to see her website and MDH, CDC information.
February 27 – Sen. Smith calls Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) on Coronavirus and proper national response.
February 27 – Sen. Smith discusses impact of Coronavirus with MN business leaders.
February 27 – In letter, Sens. Smith and Baldwin urge President to properly fund Coronavirus response without taking money from low income home heating assistance.
February 19 – Sen. Smith backs Sens. Cassidy’s and Schatz’s bill to funding the Public Health Emergency Fund, and require monthly reports to Congress on preparedness and response to health emergencies.
February 15 – In joint letter, Sen. Smith urges Budget Director and Health Secretary to request robust funding to combat Coronavirus, including vaccine production, and reimbursement to states for costs of fighting Coronavirus. You can read the letter here.
February 13 – Sen. Smith joins letter urging U.S. National Security Advisor to appoint global health security expert to coordinate nation’s global health security efforts, including response to Coronavirus.
February 5 – Sen. Smith attends briefing with Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
February 3 – Sen. Smith presses Senate Appropriators to provide emergency funding to combat Coronavirus through the Public Health Emergency Fund.
January 29 – Sens. Smith, Klobuchar, Murray press HHS for updates on Coronavirus, call for scientifically-driven response.
January 27 – Sen. Smith calls Kris Ehresmann, Director of Infectious Disease Division at the Minnesota Department of Health, regarding state response to coronavirus.